President Obama Gains In WSJ Poll, Stronger Economy The Reason

 

This is the type of trend that many Democrats were hoping for, and many (in spite of the naysayers) expected.

Partial results from the poll, released Wednesday, found voters feeling more positively about the economy and of Mr. Obama’s handling of it. Some 30% believed the country was headed in the right direction, up eight percentage points from a month ago. Some 60% said the country was on the wrong track, down from 69% in December and from 74% in October. The question is considered an important measure of voters’ mood.

For the first time in seven months, the poll found that more people approve of Mr. Obama’s job performance than disapprove, 48% to 46%. Some 45% said they approve of his handling of the economy—up six points from mid-December.

“Republicans had better bring their A game to the election in November, as today’s results are a reminder that as attitudes about the economy improve, so does President Obama’s standing,” said Bill McInturff, a GOP pollster who conducts the Wall Street Journal survey with Democratic pollster Peter Hart.

“The president still has a very long road ahead of him, but for the first time in a long time he finds that he has the wind at his back,” Mr. Hart said.

Justice Michael Gableman Taken To Woodshed By The New York Times

Had the editorial in The New York Times today been like the cartoons from my childhood there might have been a balloon space for text with the words “POW” and “BAM” over the image of a red-faced Justice Michael Gableman.  The ethically challenged jurist was taken to task today in the paper, and the message was clear.  Justice Gableman is an embarrassment to Wisconsin.  The sad fact remains that Gableman seems unable to see the lack of credibility he brings to the bench, or the shame he casts on this state.

This is not Justice Gableman’s first ethical breach. He won his seat in 2008 in a foul campaign against the Supreme Court’s only African-American, Louis Butler. Justice Gableman accusedMr. Butler of having worked as a public defender “to put criminals on the street,” including by finding “a loophole” to release a girl’s rapist.

In addition to playing to the fear and racism of some voters, the charge was false. The offender served his full sentence. In 2010, the Wisconsin court considered whether to sanction him under the state judicial code and split along the same ideological lines in a 3-to-3 vote without his. That meant he could not be disciplined for lying.

Now the justice claims it would be wrong for him to recuse himself because of “partisan demands.” The prosecutor’s motion was directed to the full court, not only Justice Gableman, “in the interest of justice” under “extraordinary circumstances.” To regain the public’s trust, the court must disqualify him if he does not face up to his impropriety and recuse himself.

Governor Christie Wrong—Gay Marriage Should Not Be Referendum Issue

The mere fact that someone’s rights can be put up for a vote from the rank-and-file voter is maddening. I have always opposed granting civil rights based on whether Bubba can finally see that it is OK to do so.  I stand with the Founding Fathers in balancing the rights of the minority in this country.  

Having said that however New Jersey Governor Christie wants to place a gay marriage referendum on his state’s ballot.  Christie’s idea came just as Democrats in Trenton held the first hearing on their new marriage-equality bill, a top priority for New Jersey Democrats this session.

Rutgers-Camden law professor Robert Williams said he was surprised by Christie’s announcement because if the governor wanted a simple vote on making gay marriage legal, a referendum seeking approval for it was unprecedented nationally and “legally unnecessary.”

A new marriage law rather than a constitutional amendment would suffice, he said. “The legislature already has this authority.”

There’s also a philosophical question at play in regard to the referendum. Supporters of same-sex marriage say the issue is equivalent to Jim Crow-era laws banning interracial marriage, and such a fundamental legal question should not be left to the whims of the public.

Sally Goldfarb, a Rutgers-Camden law professor who specializes in family law and gender discrimination, said fixing the civil union law is not possible.

“The problem is, when you give it a different name, people routinely think of it as different status,” Goldfarb said. “We’ve been trying for close to five years and people still don’t know what civil union is.”

John Chadima Says Alcohol The Reason For Sexual Incident With Male Student Employee

The news that John Chadima made unwanted sexual moves on a male student employee during the Rose Bowl trip to California last year created lots of buzz for viewers of the late local news on Tuesday night.  After lots of chatter and speculation over the past weeks the facts were laid out for all to see.  It was a rather sad and bizarre story.

The former senior associate athletic director resigned his position early this year, and placed the University of Wisconsin at the center of controversy and intrigue after the allegations were made known to university officials.   Though there are questions that remain one thing seems to be settled.  At least in the mind of John Chadima.

News reports of what led Chadima to make such a foolish sexual move, and then threaten to fire the student employee, seems to place alcohol at the center of the storm.

“It is certainly not reflective of the type of person I am, my lifestyle, my management style or my faith or beliefs,” he wrote.

“However I make no excuses and have come to the realization that over the past few months, alcohol had controlled and consumed my life,” the statement continued. “I am taking steps to correct that problem in my life at this time.”

Once again the blame for bad behavior is placed on the shoulders of alcohol.  That might be the appropriate place to point blame, or it might be a quick reflexive move to blunt harsher criticism of Chadima’s character.

When I first heard the response from Chadima about alcohol being to blame my mind flashed to the faces of Congressmen who get caught in hijinks, or celebrities who are caught with their pants down, and then also blamed alcohol.  Yes, sometimes people have serious problems with alcohol, and it is the root cause for their bad behavior.  

But sometimes alcohol is just a grand PR ploy to avert a more harsh assessment of a person’s character.

After watching the news my mind raced back to an article that I had read not so long ago about this very topic of drinking and making bad decisions.  A recent study finds support that people still know they are making mistakes when intoxicated, but  just don’t care as much.

While I find our culture too awash in alcohol on the one hand, I also do not like to see alcohol used as an easy excuse for those who really need a way to maneuver through public embarrassment.

If John Chadima has a serious drinking problem then I wish him a treatment plan that will allow for a life of sobriety.  I really do.   If, however, Chadima is using alcohol to steer his way around a dreadful PR mess then I have less charitable thoughts about the former senior associate athletic director.